Some 80% of New Years’ resolutions have failed by mid February. Does that figure include you? For far too many years it included me, until I had a paradigm shift.
It’s official; I no longer believe in the concept of a “lack of motivation” for something people want. By the dictionary’s definition, a person has motivation if they have a reason for doing something. I have a reason, so I have motivation.
You must’ve had a reason for making your resolution. How then could you lack motivation to achieve your goal?
What about a “failed” New Years’ resolution then? What about that goal you set to quit smoking or to lose weight?
Heck, by January 2nd you’d already bought another pack of cigarettes (I know, that was me one year). Or for some of you, by the second week in January you’d already tossed the idea of eating “clean” and given in to the temptation of potato chips and soda (I know that one, too).
That’s actually not a “failure.” It’s only defeat if you quit any efforts at working toward your goal. Don’t get hung up on timeframes. They can provide a false sense of failure.
What matters most is you continue to take incremental, achievable steps toward your end goal. When you stumble, the goal is to get back on your feet, reevaluate your footing and step forward again and again, as often as necessary.
Again, you had a reason for setting your goal. Therefore you have motivation. To combat the fallacy of a “lack of motivation,” use these three words to ask yourself three important questions.
When? Why? What?
1. “When did I start to lose steam?”
Be a detective. Very, very carefully search for when you began to lose interest. Was it before you even started (procrastination)? Was it mid-stream (losing focus)? Did you choose a task easier than you’d intended (avoiding a challenge)? Did you choose a task harder than you could realistically achieve (needing a more incremental approach)? When you discover the “when,” you’re well on your way to “why.”
2. “Why do I feel unmotivated?”
Feeling unmotivated isn’t a lack of intention nor a lack of motivation. It results from being confused about why the push isn’t there. The “gremlin” of self-doubt gains voice and tries to talk you into accepting failure.
Give yourself only honest, realistic and kind messages at this point. For example, if you’re losing steam half-way through a music practice session, it could be that you’re tired, hungry, thirsty, irritated, cold, hot or preoccupied for some other reason. It’s important to identify what lies beneath the surface. Once you’ve got that nailed down, you can silence the voice of the gremlin.
3. “What can I do about it?”
Once you know when and why, you can move onto what and design a realistic, workable plan for change. Your best friend here is the concept of “incremental.” Get back to basics; goals are only achieved one step at a time. Identify and master step one, then tackle step two and so on.
Keep in mind, too, that goal achievement is not a linear event. It’s a process with twists and turns, slips and stumbles.
Be kind to yourself; firm, but kind. Talk to yourself as you would to your five-year-old self. Cheer yourself on, consider new ideas, seek out support and keep starting as many times as you need to succeed. You’re worth every effort.
Settling for the belief that you’re unmotivated is self-defeating and untrue.
So, the next time you find yourself thinking, “I don’t feel motivated,” immediately switch the script, put on your detective hat and figure out why. Redesign your plan and take that next incremental step toward your goal. When you arrive, you’ll have two stories to share: your mission accomplished and how you overcame the gremlin of self-doubt that tried to steer you away from success.